Fraser placed a large pile of completed forms into Inspector Thatcher's in-tray and sighed. The duties of an acting liaison officer were not for the faint of heart. He opened the accounts ledger and began to review the third quarter outgoings.
Turnbull knocked discreetly on the door. "Detective Vecchio just called to say he's on his way over, sir."
Fraser paused with his finger halfway down the depreciation column and glanced up. "Thank you." He returned to work, frowning, trying to ascertain why anyone would have tried to depreciate light bulbs.
"He has to stop off and purchase some grocery items, and then he'll be here directly," Turnbull reported.
Fraser checked the clock. It was barely five. "Understood."
Turnbull cleared his throat. "I've—sir, I've moved the television in the drawing room so that it's easily viewable from the loveseat. I hope that's acceptable."
"That's fine." Beneath light bulbs were toilet cleaner and dish towels. Fraser shook his head in disbelief and made a mental note to check their accountant's credentials.
"And I've rented a selection of, ah, films, sir. Would it be inconvenient if I left them here overnight?"
"I can't imagine why it would be," said Fraser absent-mindedly, flipping back through the ledger to the second quarter. In the second quarter, someone had depreciated a turkey.
"I've restocked the towels in the bathroom, sir."
Fraser dropped his pen and looked up. Turnbull was watching him expectantly. "Thank you, Turnbull. That will be all."
"There's a delightfully subtle bottle of Syrah breathing on the kitchen counter, and—Does Detective Vecchio care for rigatoni, sir?"
Fraser froze, but kept his face blank. "I really couldn't say."
Turnbull nodded. "Splendid, sir. There's some in the refrigerator." He hesitated. "In the interests of—ah, that is, the cleaners have been deferred until Friday morning. I trust that suits you, sir."
Fraser met Turnbull's eye, but he couldn't prevent himself from blushing a little. It was most galling. "Turnbull," he said, "I have no idea what you mean."
"Of course not, sir," said Turnbull promptly. "I'll just step out then, shall I?"
When Ray let himself into the Consulate with his groceries, the reception area was deserted.
"Hello? Anybody home?"
"Ray." Fraser came out of his office. He was wearing jeans and his blue cotton sweater. Ray couldn't keep from checking him out.
"Hey, the game starts in twenty minutes, so—" Before he could finish his sentence, Fraser had backed him up against the wall and was kissing him sweetly. Ray opened his mouth and kissed him back, and Fraser's hand smoothed down Ray's side and tugged his undershirt free of his jeans, seeking out skin. Ray dropped the groceries without a second thought, and held Fraser's head and shoulder. He rubbed his thumb across Fraser's temple and drew him close to deepen the kiss. Fraser groaned and leaned in.
"Hey, hold up a minute—" Ray pushed him away a little. Not too far. "You want to watch the game or not?" He tilted his hips forward to hint at the alternatives. "What's up with you?"
"Ray," said Fraser seriously, and kissed him again. His tongue was slick and possessive in Ray's mouth, making Ray's knees weak.
"Ray." Fraser buried his face in Ray's neck and inhaled deeply. "I'm afraid that Turnbull suspects."
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